There are Treasures to be found on the tree lawn

No self-respecting suburbanite would pick through someone else’s garbage, right? Rubbish. If you can get over the garbage-picking stigma, there’s plenty to find, says Kathy Garbinsky, a bookkeeper and a self-proclaimed “treasure hunter” from Norton.

>Be knowledgeable. “Drive around and know your area — who’s got trash pickup when,” she says. You also need to be determined. “Five out of nine times you aren’t going to find anything. I go once a week, and maybe once a month I will find something.”

>Ask permission. Garbinsky scouts areas early in the morning. If she sees something she likes, she tries to come back around 8 o’clock and asks if they mind her looking through their trash. “Just say, ‘Would you mind if I took that piece?’ ” she says. “I’ve never had anyone say no and it’s nice to be courteous.”

>Use local antiques dealers. When it comes to selling her finds, Garbinsky has used eBay before but says establishing a relationship with local antiques dealers is the way to go. “Anytime a dealer buys from you, they are going to give you two-thirds of what they can get from it,” she says.

>Steer clear of veneer. There are certain things that just aren’t worth picking up and trying to salvage. Veneer is one of them. “You can always sell wood,” she says. “But a lot of pieces have veneer. If you get it wet, it starts peeling. It’s really hard to work with and replace.”

>Survey the damage. “Small, minor repairs are nothing,” she says. “But to redo a whole piece is not worth it. You’d spend more money than if you just went and bought the piece."
Your trash talks

I don't think of myself as a nosy person, but clearly I have become one. I guess it started when I had a toddler who loved to watch the garbage truck come by every Monday. We’d hear it, then run to the dining-room window to watch. How could I help but notice what I saw? What else did I have to do? Actually watch the truck?

So, notice I did. Oh, wow, the neighbor kid must have gotten a big new toy. Look at all the work they did on their yard this weekend. Somebody must have cleaned out their garage. He bags his grass? Such work!

On the plus side, I also noticed that most of our neighbors recycle. It probably helped to get us going. Recently, I rather proudly acommented to my husband that we had the most blue bags.

"That just means we're the biggest drinkers," he quipped, observing that the largest bag was full of empty bottles from a get-together we'd had. I hadn't noticed that.

33.5% of people say the earliest acceptable time to put trash on the curb is 6 p.m. the day before pickup.

18.2% of people say the earliest acceptable time to put trash on the curb is after dark the day before pickup.

6.8% of people say any time the day before pickup is acceptable.

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